The Elephant in the Libertarian Community

There’s an ugly elephant in the libertarian community. And it’s not the Ron Paul Republicans.

I’m talking about the disgusting chasm between word and deed.

Libertarians make astute observations about cop oppression and unaccountable judges. We write endless economic and moral analyses of taxes. “Taxation is theft!” we boldly and empty-headedly repeat. We whine about our rights. We zealously condemn state agents and sympathizers. We dissect the logic behind the drug wars. With great solemnity we rage against the ravages of war. Central banking is an arcane topic near and dear to our minds. We opine in endless editorials that allegedly edify the masses. We’re experts at the talk.

We suck at the walk. Here are 6 examples.

  • Taxes. Do you pay income taxes? Do you file income tax forms? Why? Are you scared the big bad state will come after you and inconvenience your cozy middle class life? One radical blogger whom I (still) respect a lot, announced that he was selling most of his silver stockpile in order to pay the IRS. I called him a coward to his (digital) face. I’d especially like to know if the people who so categorically condemned the Pennsylvania state police informant have caved to the pressure of state intimidation in the area of taxes.
  • Jobs. Do you have a job? Are you an employee? Does your boss manage most of your waking hours? Does a chunk of your salary go straight to the federal coffers every week? Why don’t you have a business? Are you at least trying to start up a counter-economic enterprise on the side? Why not? What is your excuse?
  • Sloth. Is your cellar stocked for the collapse – complete with a spare tire around your midsection? Does your (r)evolution happen on the couch? Do you really expect a libertarian society to emerge just by typing on a computer or watching TV from the comfort of a Lazyboy? When was the last time you tested your limits? Get yourself in shape and make it happen. (I recommend Aikido.)
  • Privilege. Do you work for a big corporation? For the government? A defense contractor? Do you or your employer provide services to the government? Do you own stock in big corporations? Then you are part of the state-privilege establishment. Are you more worried about getting the latest tablet than in expanding your activism profile? When are you going to get your hands dirty?
  • Currency. Have you bought any silver, gold or copper coins? How about some Bitcoin? Are you trading on the side? If you’re not experimenting with non-governmental currency and unauthorized trade, what are you waiting for?
  • Inactivism. I can barely rouse a few volunteers for the chance to make money with an international conference. Organizing airport meetups for a righteous and internationally mega-popular campaign complete with free TV appearances was like pulling teeth. Finding someone willing to run a camera with me in front of courthouses proved impossible. Are you committed to your ideals? Then put some skin in the game.

I read about what the Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara endured. Their commitment is incredible. Disease, starvation, filthiness, heavy backpacks, sloping mountains, mosquito attacks and constant haranguing by heavily-armed and numerous Batista troops – they took it all in stride. It doesn’t matter that you don’t appreciate their political views. Look at their devotion. Consider what they sacrificed in pursuit of their ideals. Do you measure up? How much of your convenient life are you willing to put on the line for your freedom?

You may have clothes on your back, three squares a day, work, education and friends. But that doesn’t mean that everything is hunky-dory in the world. Your economic activity is the battery that supplies the global US war machine. Your silence is the grease that eases the gears forward. You bear, if not complicity, at least responsibility. Your mission is to stop feeding this machine with your life force. And to start growing a better one.

When you are at the end of your life, long past the emergence of the new libertarian societies we seek, what will you tell your grandchildren about your role in all of this? Were you on the sidelines? Did you go with the flow of statism? Or did you stand up, risk something and make a difference for your ideals? What do you want your descendants to think and say about you?

Your words, your analyses, your rational arguments are nothing but a lot of hot air until and unless you actually live them.

Are you ready for liberty? Prove it.

12 June 2012
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